Finding big money in a little word: Learning to Love the “No”


It’s usually the first word we learn and the first word we learn to hate.

Even as adults, the word “NO” triggers a sense of loss or of being prevented from having something that we want. Those two little letters form the barrier between us and the object of our desire. In sales, they are dreaded and feared because they are blocking our sales… or are they?

The way I see it, NO is simply the doorway to YES and I believe that’s true in three ways.

Our no’s empower our yesses.

What I mean by that is when we say No to something, we’re inherently saying Yes to something else — something better.

Let’s go back to our toddler days for a moment when we first developed our aversion to “no”. When our Mom told us “no” to putting our fingers in the outlets, she was saying “yes” to our safety. When she said “no” to eating food off of the floor, she was saying “yes” to our health. When she said “no” to hitting our siblings, she was saying “yes” to filial love.

When we want something or, as in the case of our example, when someone wants something on our behalf, like safety, health or love, we have to pass — to say no — to their opposites and to the things that pull us away from our desired outcomes. The more committed we are to the outcome, the more clearly we see that we HAVE to say NO to get to the better YES!

Our No’s Help us Get Clear

In our example, each NO was also steering us towards a better outcome than the one within our original trajectory — like safety over electrocution. This is the second most important way in which No’s are doorways to Yeses. They help us get really clear on what we want.

During a sales call, for an example, when a client puts forth an objection — tells you NO-go on something — it’s your chance to improve the story, to clarify the perfection of the solution you’re offering. Those No’s along the way help you refine the offer or the support for the offer and pave your way to the final yes, sealed with a check.

Avoiding The Wrong Kind of Yes

Sometimes, though those “no-go” moments make it clear that our offer isn’t a yes for that client.

Has it ever happened to you that you’ve been in a sales call and the client was really buying your solution? Even if it probably should have been a no, you weaseled your way to yes? And how many of the times that you didn’t allow a NO to happen, when it should have, turned out to be a great experience for the client or for you? Odds are, those clients ended up being your biggest PITA clients.

And this, my friend, is the third and final reason why I teach every person I can to learn to love the NO. If we block No’s from happening — when they really should — we are opening the door to the wrong kind of yes.

A 100% close rate is a much a real thing as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. If we are going to get yeses, we are going to HAVE to get no’s.

So, embrace your NOs. Celebrate your NOs. They are the fastest way to get you to the best YES!

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